1001 Songs Challenge #719: Free Fallin’ (1989)
On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenging of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post everyday (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be…
Tom Petty – Free Fallin’ (1989)
” Free Fallin'” is the opening track from Tom Petty’s debut solo album, Full Moon Fever (1989). The song was written by Petty and his writing partner for the album, Jeff Lynne, and features Lynne on backing vocals and bass guitar.
We’re leaving the UK today and making our way to the US and to Florida. Tom Petty appeared on our list back in 1976 with American Girl and with his band – The Heartbreakers. When we join Petty in 1989 he has decided to go solo and his debut album – Full Moon Fever – has been released. 1001 Songs have gone with the first song completed on the record – Free Fallin’.
In Free Fallin’ Tom Petty teamed up with Jeff Lynne of Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) to write a track that was a homage to San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles. Petty describes the various scenes and people he observes as if driving around and taking in the everyday lives of others. We hear of a “good girl” on more than one occasion and how there are “bad boys” out there who specialise in breaking hearts. The refrain of “free fallin’” suggests an independent soul going about their life without a care in the world.
Arguably Tom Petty’s most famous song, Free Fallin’ would be his highest charting hit, reaching the US Top 10. It boasts a colourful yet engaging video of Petty around Los Angeles observing various scenes and people. Petty’s career would continue to flourish as a solo artist but also with The Heartbreakers. In 2017 Petty and The Heartbreakers completed a 40th anniversary tour but, sadly, just a week later Tom Petty died from an accidental drug overdose. He was just 66 but never stopped free fallin’.
Favourite songs so far:
The Animals – House of the Rising Sun (1964)
Simon & Garfunkel – The Sounds of Silence (1965)
The Beatles – A Day in the Life (1967)
Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here (1975)
Meat Loaf – Bat Out of Hell (1977)
Queen – Don’t Stop Me Now (1978)
The Smiths – How Soon Is Now? (1984)